Last month, a Denmark-bound Qatar Airways Boeing 787 "Dreamliner" was involved in an alarming incident that saw the aircraft suddenly lose altitude shortly after takeoff. The plane dropped below 1,000 feet while flying over the Persian Gulf on its way out of the carrier's Doha hub, but the situation was recovered.
According to the Aviation Herald, this incident occurred in the early hours of Tuesday, January 10th, this year. Tracking data shared by the Aviation Herald shows that, before the descent, the aircraft had reached a peak altitude of 1,850 feet at 02:01:07. It was at this point that it suddenly descended at a maximum sink rate of 3,000 feet per minute, dropping to 850 feet.
It is thought that a key factor was that the First Officer, who was flying the aircraft at the time, lost situational awareness while climbing. This was additionally compounded by the fact that they were having to make a manual turn from one waypoint to another. In any case, it is rare to see such an incident involving Qatar Airways, which has a strong safety record.
Qatar Airways has reported the event to authorities, and an internal investigation is being carried out. The carrier assured that it follows the most stringent standards of safety, training, and reporting and is working to address any findings in line with industry norms.
Writer: Jake Hardiman